Albion: Vinyl LPBELLA1521V
Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Bella Union
Release Date: 1st December
Here's a voice welcomed back like an old familiar friend, it's Tim Smith's mystic folk waver, last heard on Midlake's finest albums. On 'Harp' he makes a foggy yet glacial return to psychedelic folk with a record that glistens with the same AOR pop of his old band's first two albums, it's giving me Roxy Music 'Avalon' meets Kate Bush vibrations.
Bella Union are thrilled to release the long-awaited debut solo album Albion by Harp, the adopted name of Tim Smith, formerly the singer and principal songwriter of Texan legends Midlake, who is joined by his wife, Kathi Zung.
The road to Albion might have been long and winding, and bumpy to boot, but the music Harp has created is steeped in sublime melody, mood, drama and detail, its ten songs and two mood-matching instrumentals framed by a mesh of acoustic/electric guitars, soft shades of keyboards and Smith’s gorgeous voice; in other words, the quintessence of what drew people in the first place to his work with Midlake.
But Albion has starker, darker hues than Smith is typically renowned for, which lifts Albion to new heights in his canon; likewise, the level of personal revelation. These are songs about the human condition, from love - both lost and found – to faith, anxiety to joy, fear to acceptance, all couched in a highly distinct poetic language.
Since leaving Midlake, Smith has performed just once, with Lost Horizons (at London’s Festival Hall in 2018), the collective co-founded by Bella Union boss (and former Cocteau Twin) Simon Raymonde, after Smith had contributed vocals and lyrics to “She Led Me Away” for the collective’s 2017 debut Ojalá. Smith subsequently went on to contribute vocals and lyrics for the track “Grey Tower” on Lost Horizons’ second album, In Quiet Moments. Those were all-too-rare sightings of Smith, but Albion’s day has come, and in a manner of speaking, in many aspects of his life, Smith has finally come home.